Canada, USA win groups, Russia gets extra game
Slovakia's goalkeeper Jan Laco concedes a goal to Russia's Ilya Kovalchuk (back) during a penalty shootout at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014 - by Bruce Bennett
Russia went to a shootout for the second-straight day to beat Slovakia 1-0 on the final day of the preliminary round.
Defenceman Drew Doughty scored his second goal of the game in overtime as defending champ Canada beat Finland 2-1 in a game to decide top spot in Group B.
Phil Kessel scored three goals as the 2010 silver medal winners the United States routed Slovenia 5-1 as the Americans won Group A to power their way into the quarter-finals with three straight wins.
Sweden, Canada, USA all advanced to the quarter-finals after finishing first in their groups. The Finns also received a bye for having the best record of the second place teams in the preliminary round.
The other eight teams in the draw will play a qualification playoff on Tuesday to determine the next four teams to reach the quarter-finals.
Host Russia will play Norway in the qualification round to try and stay alive in the tournament. Russia is under immense pressure to win gold on their home soil and are looking to make amends for a sixth place finish in the Vancouver Olympics.
Ilya Kovalchuk overcame a mid-match injury to score in a shootout and lift Russia to a dramatic victory over Slovakia.
It was the second shootout in as many days for the Russians who lost a heartbreaker 3-2 to the USA on Saturday.
"We'll go out and focus. Now we can't lose, all the games could bring elimination," Kovalchuk said.
Kovalchuk beat Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco with a backhand shot in close for the four-time world champion Russians who are seeking their first Olympic gold medal since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Kovalchuk had to leave the game halfway through the second period after he fell awkwardly while fighting for a loose puck.
- Needed treatment before shootout -
He went to the dressing room for a brief period and received some treatment before returning to become the shootout star.
The shootout was reminiscent of four years ago in Vancouver when the late Pavol Demitra score the winning goal in a shootout for Slovakia as they beat the Russians 2-1.
Demitra died in 2011 when a Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger aircraft, carrying the entire hockey team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. All the players were killed.
Doughty took a pass from his Los Angeles Kings teammate Jeff Carter and snapped a shot under the left leg pad of Finnish goaltender Tuuku Rask for Canada who are seeking back-to-back Olympic gold. They beat the USA 3-2 in the final in Vancouver.
"I think that's how a lot of teams are going to play us throughout the rest of the tournament," said Doughty. "They're going to kind of sit back and make us make mistakes and, on the turnovers, they're going to jump and try to get odd-man rushes.
"They did a really good job of that tonight, but we overcame it."
Canada continues to get offensive production from its defencemen as Doughty scored his third and fourth goals of the tournament.
He opened the scoring Sunday while fellow defenceman Shea Weber got the assist.
Between the two of them, Doughty and Weber have a total of six goals which is more than half of Canada's goals (11) in the tournament.
Canada's forward Sidney Crosby said he likes the way the team is progressing and doesn't think they need to alter their style in the quarter-finals.
"You don't want to have to change the way you play a whole lot," Crosby said. "We've been playing the right way here for three games, we've gotten better. Today was a good test for our patience and the way we need to play."
In other daytime match on Sunday, Austria beat Norway 3-1.